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Tasting Notes: Dark Chocolate, Black Currant, Grape, Brown Sugar
Varietal: K7, Ruiru 11
Producer: Various Smallholders
Keng’uso Coffee Estate
The Keng’uso Estate might be a newcomer to Kenya’s expanse of coffee powerhouses, but the expertise of estate founder Frederick Ng’asora, his father, and his siblings, who are all coffee farmers, bring much value to the table. The estate boasts two washing stations in Nyamira County, where coffee is the second most-grown cash crop after tea.
Kenguso lies at 1,800masl, where 2,000 Ruiru 11 trees and 3,000 K7 trees grow in rich volcanic soil. While SL-28 and SL-34 are Kenya’s most well-known varietals, the coffee berry disease-immune Ruiru-11 varietal was developed after a CBD epidemic in 1968 and was quickly adopted throughout the country. K7 is a similarly disease-resistant varietal released in 1936 by Scott Laboratories and related to the Bourbon genetic group.
Frederick has plans in motion for the future of Keng’uso Estate, including expanding his support to more small-scale farmers with a particular focus on empowering women. He also has his eye on farm certification and investing in a parabolic dryer to aid in the goal of producing 100% specialty coffee at high qualities and high volumes.
Kenya Green Coffee Beans
Kenya green coffee beans are celebrated for bold, fruit-forward flavors that pack a punch in complex acidity. SL-28 and SL-34 are two of the most well-known varietals grown here, developed by Scott Agricultural Laboratories in the 1930s for drought resistance, exceptional cup quality, and large yield at high altitudes. After a coffee berry disease (CBD) epidemic in 1968, the CBD-immune Ruiru-11 varietal was developed and quickly adopted throughout the country.
Kenya coffee production has upheld quality and consistency throughout the years with detail-oriented management at the washing stations. Over 600,000 smallholder farmers around the country are organized into Farmer Cooperative Societies (FCS) that oversee traceability and quality control for its membership body.
Kenya Coffee Processing
Coffee cherries at Kenguso are pulped with a single-disc mini pulper on the same day they’re harvested. Three reserve pulpers are always on standby to avoid delays from machine failure. Dry fermentation spans 14-16 hours in rectangular concrete tanks, and washing the fermented parchment is carried out in rainwater, sometimes supplemented with river water. Parchment coffee is laid out to dry on raised beds and turned every 30-45 minutes to ensure even drying.